## General Question

# Is there ever an odds to payout ratio that makes purchasing a lottery ticket a mathematically rational choice?

Asked by gorillapaws (20658)
April 4th, 2012

I realize that you have to factor in multiple winners splitting the prize, the odds that will happen etc. Let’s have the most basic case, where you buy a ticket for $1 with 1 number between 1 and 10 and the winner gets $100 trillion. In such cases, the mathematician would buy as many of each number as he could possibly afford. Of course everyone else would be doing the same. Even still, I suspect that such a lottery would still net a nice return even split several billion ways.

So how would a rational mathematician calculate when the odds are actually in her favor to win, given that there could be many other winners?

Observing members:
0
Composing members:
0

## 15 Answers

## Answer this question

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Have a question?
Ask Fluther!